It was in 2003 when, being a great simulator flying
buff and an owner of a
reasonably large collection of flight simulators, I
became seriously interested in the history of the flight simulator legend –
Microsoft Flight Simulator. I decided to cover the development of all of its
versions ever released. At that time, however, I did not have the foggiest
idea how difficult this task would turn out to be. subLOGIC/Microsoft Flight
Simulator is not only one of the oldest computer flight simulator, but its whole family is the
largest in the world.
My first and at the beginnings
also the only source of information was Internet where you can find either
masses of files dedicated to individual versions (Apple II FS1,
Apple II FS2,
MSFS2) or special websites that try to follow the whole
history. You can find either very brief
websites or more
detailed and its authors come from various countries, for example
or a very nice article by
Klein from Germany (on FlightSim).
There is also an article about history of Flight Simulator in
Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia.
official Microsoft website describing the history of Flight Simulator in
English language. Unfortunately it already does not work as well as in other languages.
The Flight Simulator genealogy
is fairly well covered from version 3.0 onwards. Nevertheless, earlier
versions are much more difficult to track down. Unfortunately, although
Internet provides an immense amount of useful information, it is also a
source of all conceivable misinformation. To make the matters worse, some
erroneous facts are frequently adopted by authors of new articles without
This is a promotional movie for
the Flight Simulator History Website.
After a considerably long
period of searching I finally found
Jos Grupping’s website
Netherlands which turned out to be the most comprehensive and accurate
source of my first information. Jos has been working on the Flight Simulator
history for several years. As Jos is an active type of person and has some
other interests, there is still a lot to be done is research of Flight
Simulator history. In the course of time, I discovered some missing parts in
his history description. Moreover, there are practically no Czech websites
dealing with this subject. In October 2001 LEVEL magazine (issued in the Czech Republic) featured an extensive article
published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the civil
flight simulation. Nevertheless, even this article contains inaccurate or
incomplete information. That is why I decided to contribute with my own
some time I realized that I would need my own copies of all the versions.
This would be the best way how to find out the years of release, facts about
authors and graphics. Otherwise, I would always have to face misinformation,
errors and inaccuracies. However, it is not easy to get your own copies.
First, it was necessary to determine the actual beginning of the Flight
Simulator history, then to sort out its versions and match the computer
platforms for which those versions were designed.
Part of my collection
let‘s begin with some basic facts
are various flight simulation programs with very similar or even identical
names which have nothing to do with subLOGIC/Microsoft “Flight Simulator”
program. For instance, in 1982 Psion released their “Flight Simulation” for ZX 81 and ZX
Spectrum, followed by Myrddin Software which produced a similar
program for Amstrad CPC in 1984. In 1983 Artic Computing Ltd. made “Flight
Simulator” for ZX Spectrum, and in 1985 Microdeal did the same for Sinclair
Two men of subLOGIC -
Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment
first version of Flight Simulator 1 was created by Bruce Artwick.
out in 1980 under Artwick’s company label subLOGIC and was designed for the
Apple II and TRS-80. Later, the same producer released another versions
designated with Roman II for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari (400/ 800/ 800XL
600XL/ 1200XL/ 1400XL/ 1450XLD/ XE console), Atari ST, Amiga, Data
General/One. There were also versions for NEC PC-9801, NEC PC-8801, Color Computer 3 and MSX.
Simultaneously, Artwick (subLOGIC) also prepared releases designated Flight Simulator
1 for IBM PC,Apple Macintosh
and Texas Instruments Professional Computer, Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and Tandy 1000/ 1200HD/ 2000.
They were released under Microsoft label. The author of all of them was Artwick who
later sold all Flight Simulator rights to Microsoft. These parallel releases
for such a wide range of computers caused immense chaos. Nevertheless,
nowadays it is quite normal that a PC game is created by one company and
released by another one. Things got even more confused after Artwick left
subLOGIC. The company went on producing new flight simulators and flight
simulation related accessories (mentioned elsewhere). Microsoft pretends
that it has nothing to do with the earliest version and presents Microsoft
Flight Simulator 1.00 from 1982 as its first version. It should be pointed out
that Artwick and his company subLOGIC, later BAO, also programmed further
versions for Microsoft until 1996 when BAO, Artwick’s second company, was
swallowed by Microsoft for good.
Simulator X and Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00
easy to get all the versions?
have been flying simulators for a considerable long period, my collection
comprises all versions for PC from MSFS 3.0 onwards. However, getting
earlier versions as well as versions for other platforms was much more
complicated. Obviously, they were withdrawn from the market long time ago,
therefore I checked out websites of Atari, Amiga, Macintosh and other fans
on Internet. I also browsed through forums and contacted enthusiasts of
virtual flying in the world. I managed to find several versions using the
ftp search programs. I even tried to contact Microsoft, but I got formal
answer only. Thanks to numerous fans I finally got most of the early
versions. The rest of priceless original packages were bought either in
auctions or elsewhere. Thus, after several years my collection was nearly
complete. Still, there was another problem. Most of the early versions were
designed for other computers than PCs, therefore original platforms or their
emulators were necessary. That is, however, a different story. At last, I
managed to run and evaluate all my packages, and retrieved information on
their authors either from the programs or their covers. Unfortunately, even
though you own genuine media and manuals, you can never be sure about the
exact year of release. In some cases the year of copyright does not
correspond to the actual year of release (this applies to the first release
of the version for Atari, improved modifications of 2.x version or MS Flight
Simulator 3.0, for instance). So, I had to use other sources of information
as well. In this way I have compiled the Flight Simulator complete history.
Now it is time to present it to you.
are few new updates: thanks to Peter Veenstra of DOSBox team and in
cooperation with Jos Grupping I managed to implement MSFS 1.00 in
DOSBox download. Thanks to
Phil Lange I made several new screenshots of FSII for C 64. Finally, I
appended an animation of T80-FS1.